UK's best, and most loved, roots band, Steel Pulse, is one of the
few English reggae acts to gain respect in Jamaica.
after a popular racehorse Steel Pulse were formed at Birmingham's
Handsworth Wood Secondary School. The group took conscious reggae
to punk audiences in the 70s.
UK's Grammy-winning reggae band have always remained close to their
roots. They have always been committed to fighting injustice, educating
the masses, and promoting positive messages through spiritually
deal with positive spirits. It means putting aside the guns, the
drugs and all of the things that are ailments of society - especially
the black communities right now". - Steel Pulse
at Duddeston Manor School in Birmingham, Musical Youth group featured
two sets of brothers. Although schoolboys, the group managed to
secure gigs at certain Birmingham pubs.
During the winter of 1982, the group released one of the fastest-selling
singles of the year in "Pass The Dutchie". The infectious
enthusiasm of the group's performance captured the public's imagination
and propelled the record to number one in the UK charts.
continued to have U.K. hits throughout 1983 with pop-reggae hybrids
like "Heartbreaker" and "Tell Me Why." The group
also appeared on Donna Summer's 1982 single, "Unconditional
They fell from commercial grace and subsequently split up in 1985
when Seaton left the band. Plans to re-form were scotched when group
member Patrick Waite, died of natural causes. After 20 years the
original members Dennis Seaton and Michael Grant have reformed the
group and are back in the recording studio.
Murray aka Pato Banton, was born in Birmingham. Pato first came
to the public's attention in 1982. His debut single, "Hello
Tosh", was a novelty take on the Toshiba advertising campaign
In the 90s Pato began to attract a large US following, where he
had a tremendous live popularity. In 1994 IRS record label persuaded
him to release a pop cover version. Backed by Robin and Ali Campbell
of UB40 and written by Grant, Eddy, "Baby Come Back" became
a worldwide success, selling one and a half million copies in Europe
After his two sons were caught in the cross-fire of a shoot-out
Pato Banton became actively involved in several anti-gun campaigns
and has performed at peace concerts across the city. In the wake
of increased gun violence in Birmingham reggae master Pato Banton
recently recorded his album 'Stop The Guns'.
multiracial band UB40 was formed in Birmingham in 1978. Named after
the form issued to unemployed people in the UK to receive benefit,
UB40 are the most long-lasting proponents of crossover reggae in
the album Labour Of Love, the single "Red Red Wine" was
released in August 1983. This number one single propelled them to
major fame. From the album also came a string of hits came such
as "Please Don't Make Me Cry" and "Many Rivers To
tours and numerous albums followed, then after the release of The
Best Of UB40, the group had a break and concentrated on various
have tirelessly promoted reggae and ska, through no other motive
than a love and respect for the music. They
also own recording studios in Birmingham and actively promote new
career has spanned over two decades, with over 18 albums and over
40 single releases, selling 50 million records worldwide.
Indian is an artist that has linked traditional Asian sounds with
influences from mainstream Pop, Reggae and Hip Hop. Born in Handsworth
(Birmingham, England), Steven Kapur AKA Apache Indian has been recognized
for linking different cultures through music, and becoming the first
true International Asian Pop Artist.
Indian has enjoyed over a decade of success in the music business.
He has released five albums as well as having been featured on various
compilation albums. Apache has achieved 7 top forty hits in the
British charts including the massive hit single BOOMSHACKALAK. He
has collaborated with many top artists including Asha Bhosle, Frankie
Paul and Pop legend Boy George. Apache Indian was the first Asian
artist to have his very own show on National Radio One (UK) and
presented MTV Reggae Sound System from Kingston, Jamaica.
was born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham.
musical direction has been influenced by America's urban R&B
scene. At the age of 15 she was discovered by Parlophone records
and signed a contract.
first came into the public's attention in 2000 when her single Money,
still her most recognised song and certainly her biggest success,
peaked at No5 in the UK charts. Within 18 months Jamelia went on
to have three more Top 40 hits. In 2000 she was nominated for four
Mobo Awards and won one.
career was put on hold for two years while she had a child, although
she continued to write. Summer 2003 sees the return of Jamelia with
a fresh new album release.
born Clifford Joseph Price (aka Goldie) got his nickname long before
he had his gold teeth. As a former Rastafarian his long golden dreadlocks
earned him the nickname Goldilocks.
He is best known for his love of drum 'n' bass music. In 1995 he
became famous for his best selling album 'Timeless', a futuristic
jungle epic. The album shot straight into the UK charts at number
seven, a first for a drum 'n' Bass artist.
Goldie has had several big budget film roles, most famously as Bullion
in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough in 1999.
He also starred in Guy Ritchie's Snatch and 'The Ninth
Gate' with Johnny Depp. Most most recently he played a
gold-toothed gangster called Angel in Eastenders. He
also had a stint in the Celebrity Big Brother House but was voted
out on the first week.
Diva Beverley Knight was born in 1972 and grew up in Wolverhampton.
She is a successful UK R&B singer/songwriter three-times Mobo
Award winner, performer to the stars and an international success.
took the UK soul scene by storm in 1995 with her debut album B-Funk,
which included hits such as 'Moving on Up' and the classic hit single
Flavour of the old school. Beverley gained an international
fanbase in more than 20 countries with fans as far afield as Australia
and Brazil. 1998 saw the release of the hugely successful second
album Prodigal Sista.
In 2002 a world away from the glitz and the glamour, Beverley Knight
visited some of the poorest areas of Brazil. She was invited to
be an ambassador for Christian Aid who working together with local
Brazilian organisations tackle issues of poverty and raise awareness
of HIV and Aids.
is currently continuing to raise funds for Christian Aid projects.
Sagoo was born in Delhi and raised in Birmingham. He
became a popular DJ amongst the Asian community, mixing traditional
Indian music with western beats. In 1989 Bally remixed Bhangra singer
Malkit Singhs song 'Hey Jamalo Tutak, Tutak' which was an instant
then went on to produce his first album 'Wham Bam'. The albums traditional
Indian flavours and cutting edge western beats re-energised the
Asian music scene opening a whole new world of possibilities for
Asian artists. Bally was the first Asian artist to drag Asian music
into the 20th century.
album was a huge success. His first single 'Chura liya' broke all
records by being the first ever Indian language song to enter the
mainstream, UK charts, no one has managed to do it since.
2000 saw Bally winning the EMMA award (Ethnic Multicultural Media
Award) beating off the likes of Jamelia and The Brand New Heavies.
and R&B singer Ruby Turner was born in Handsworth, Birmingham.
In 1986, her duet with Jonathon Butler, If You're Ready (Come Go
With Me), gave her a first hit as it reached Number 30 in the UK
this point Turner had already carved a reputation as a backing vocalist,
appearing on records by UB40, Martha & The Muffins and Bryan
1986 until the mid-nineties, Ruby had several further hits for the
Jive label, including I'd Rather Go Blind (1987) and It's Gonna
Be Alright (1990). Using her immense, soulful voice and songs penned
by Womack And Womack, she gained a reputation for quality club and
recent years Turner has continued her career as a session singer,
working with Steve Winwood, UB40 and Steel Pulse, among others,
whilst simultaneously working on solo material.
is one of the best jazz singers to have come out of Birmingham.
For many years she was the lead singer with Andy Hamilton and the
Blue Notes, also working with Steel Pulse.
moved to London to study music and has since toured the world with
the Old Vic production of Carmen Jones.
is a professional singer and actress with versitile talents that
has embraced success in a variety of singing, acting and dancing
roles in highly acclaimed productions throughout the world.
B was one of the most productive, distinctive and talented of MCs
to emerge in Britain in the 80s. He first rose to local fame chatting
for the Birmingham-based Wassifa hi-fi.
large physique, stunning, topical lyrics and dreadlocked features
made him an imposing presence on the mic. With the help of fellow
Wolverhamptonite Macka Dub, Ariwa producer Mad Professor unleashed
a monster with Macka B's debut LP, Sign Of The Times, which remains
a classic to this day.
comic with roots anthems Macka B continues to be a huge influence
within the reggae community.
JD (aka Dready)
the British Busta Rhymes, JD aka Dready was born Aston in Birmingham.
He has always been around music from when he was growing up.
decided to leave Birmingham for London in 2001 to try and break
into the music industry. It was only a few months before JD was
introduced to So Solid Crew at the video shoot for 'They Don't Know'.
Later, when they heard the unique and infectious vocal style of
his demos, they invited him to rhyme for them.
months he started to work on solo material with Romeo, Lisa Maffia
and Asher D. Since achieving the number two spot with Lisa Maffia's
'All Over' which JD produced, he has since remixed tracks for Mis-teeq,
Hamilton - (Jazz Legend )
Hamilton has played his own rare style of Caribbean jazz for 50
years around the UK, Europe and the Caribbean.
Andy left Jamaica in 1949 and sailed to England, intending to make
some money and go on to the USA where his jazz heroes were enjoying
the Golden Age of Jazz. He got no further than Birmingham.
in Birmingham he formed his own band The Blue Notes.
the age of 72 his debut album "Silvershine" was released
to universal acclaim, it became the biggest selling UK Jazz Album
the Year, was one of the 50 Sony International recordings of the
year and was named as The Times Jazz Album of The Year.
passion for music and enthusiasm for teaching has led to the establishment
of the Ladywood Community School of Music, offering people of all
ages the chance to learn from the great legend of Jazz.
has become a local celebrity. Even at 85 he regularly plays at civic
functions, organised nights and opened venues across the Birmingham.
for your favourite...
part of Black History Month 2004 the BBC Birmingham website asked
readers to vote for who do they thought was the greatest black sports,
music or TV personality to come out of Birmingham and the Black
a look at our reader votes